Only a few hours into the new year, we got engaged! It was an incredibly long time coming and was the sweetest, coziest, most heartfelt proposal I could have wished for. We gorged ourselves on mussels at my family’s annual Mussel Festival weekend five course extravaganza. We also shined up pretty nice for a family wedding and went to Hobart for the MONA festival. But David Bowie died and that was pretty awful.
Posie got injured and started an incredibly long recovery period with lots of ups and downs, and our whole existence was suddenly focused almost entirely on the exhausting task of attending to her needs, monitoring her progress, ferrying her to endless appointments, cleaning up vomit and administering pills up to eight times a day. This was not a fun month.
Not the greatest month either. Looking after Posie was physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting, and then there was something else that left us reeling in grief, anger, sadness and lots of conflicted feelings. And then as if that wasn’t enough, there was more bad news that threw everything into chaos. Probably better to pretend this month didn’t exist. Although, looking back, I’m so proud of us for getting through this month and supporting each other.
A ray of light – I graduated! First of several graduations, hopefully. It meant so much to me, and I was so damn proud of myself.
Mother’s Day + Posie turned 7 + Jennifer’s birthday + Dad turned 60 and we got him a unicycle + I got to see La Bohème and The Pearlfishers with Mum and Dad. Posie had a setback, which was hard for all of us, but especially Dad – he would never admit to favourites, but Posie is Poppy’s little darling girl.
I took a tumble in the parking lot at the vet, sprained my ankle and took all the skin off my knee (I still have a big scar from this), but I got to go back to Taipei and Tokyo! All by myself, to boot. It was quite an adventure and it made me feel so brave and capable and independent, which are all things I don’t get to feel so much on a daily basis. I also got to meet Tango, our miraculous little sponsor dog.
My cousin threw herself a fabulous Christmas in July themed birthday party and Nathan finally got an (appropriate) opportunity to wear one of his black metal Christmas sweaters. I did a fun run with Dad and Jennifer (even if I did walk most of it, which was okay considering my ankle situation) and we tried our best to survive the cold winter without proper heating.
I dreamed of summer, Mum turned 59, but I also attended my first conference. Such an eye-opening experience, and nothing makes you feel like a legit writer like actually attending an industry event. I didn’t pitch this year – I wanted to scope it all out first. I made some great contacts and met people who have turned out to be the most delightful, interesting individuals that I can’t wait to get to know better. Already booked accommodation and flights for next year in Brisbane, already working hard on having at least one (but hopefully two) manuscripts ready for pitching.
Nine wonderful years together! Also, Father’s Day and Patrick’s birthday. And then Nathan turned 33, and I embarked on the last year of my twenties… and subsequently freaked out a bit that I should have achieved more by now. I tried some eight minute writing prompts during this month as well, which I need to get back into. My garden came alive again too, which was very welcome after a long winter.
My Honours thesis pretty much fell over this month – don’t worry, it will get back on track! I just need to find a few perspective. We attended another family wedding, a BIG one. And Posie and Rupert were pretty much the best dogs in the world, no contest.
Mum and I went to Bali on our little mother-daughter adventure. Bintangs, batiks, tapas, swimming, monkeys, activities, fun. I wrote about it 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 times I got home just in time for Prince Rupert to turn 11 – we had planned on having a hot dog party for him, but life got in the way. But it’s totally on for next year, and he’s even got a little costume to wear.
Nathan and I went on our biggest, most ambitious adventure to date which I will be posting about in the new year – Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Nara. I always feel so grateful that we’ve had all this time together before having kids to go on these types of adventures and really enjoy spending time together, and we’re already plotting all sorts of exciting possibilities for our honeymoon. I got to fulfill a lifelong dream and go to Disneyland (actually, DisneySea – Tokyo Disneyland is for next time). We got home in time for Caitlin’s birthday, and of course, Christmas. We got a new tree for the first time ever and I don’t think I’ll be able to bring myself to pack it away, it’s so beautiful.
I think 2016 mostly sucked for mostly everybody. There was so much about this year that was challenging, exhausting, shocking, painful, and there was a big dose of depression for both of us – we really had the drag ourselves through most of the year. But there were definitely sparkly bits, little moments of wonderful, big moments of fabulous. Looking back over the year, I don’t want to ignore the troubles that we endured, but I don’t want to dwell either – I would rather just be proud of us for getting through it all, and ending the year on such a high. 2017 – you are going to be amazing!